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Gangs of Film: Nathan Strack’s Top 10 Gang Films (part II)

by  |  March 9th, 2011  |  Blog  |  2 Comments

We’re back folks… I have personally been looking forward to letting you guys in on the last part of this series ‘The Gangs of Film: My top 10 favorite movies with Gangs in them.’

With that said, here is the conclusion of the series ‘The Gangs of Film: My top 10 favorite movies with Gangs in them. Part 2: The top 5 favorites.

To start off the series and coming in at number 5 is: Mad Max (1979).

Mel Gibson in Mad Max

Post-Apocalyptic movies with gangs in them tend to portray gangs in a lot harsher light.  Often times these gangs are portrayed as being very violent deviant individuals with out a conscience or remorse.  They will gladly take the food supply of an entire village and or take their men and or women as well…

But there is one point that tends to get lost in translation when it comes to these type of anti-heroes.  That like all movies with gangs in them, these post-apocalyptic movies with gangs in them also have been known to demonstrate a sense of community and togetherness that sometimes borders on an almost family type setting, with Mad Max being no different!

Written by: James McClausland and George Miller (Happy Feet) who also directed the movie.  And starring Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon), Joanne Samuels (All Saints) and Hugh Keays-Byrne (Farscape)

Mad Max tells the story of Max Rockatansky (Gibson) who is a Police patrol officer in a future Australia after an apocalypse has wiped out most of the rest of the world.

With that said Max who is a husband and father becomes judge jury and executioner after the death of his family and best friend. With these losses Max loses it, and gives up everything to get revenge on those that murdered those who care about him the most!

Mad Max helped to propel many people’s careers. Such as Mel Gibson who would eventually make it in to superstardom with such films as Brave Heart (1995) and the brilliant action comedy Bird on a Wire (1990), as well as George Miller who was also catapulted in to noteriety with such movies as Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

For more information on the movie, check out this trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkriid1YxHY

Next up on the list and coming in at Number 4: Dangerous Minds (1995)

A scene from Dangerous Minds.

Now I found out about this award winning movie back when I was a kid  and it had first come out…  This of course was back in my days of going out to a movies pretty much every weekend.  With that said this movie is also the movie that introduced me to rap music and was my first and only audio cassette tape that I ever owned (The sound track for this movie has Gangsta’s Paradise which helped catapult Coolio in to legendary status in the music game.)

What I liked about this movie and found to be the most impressive about this is the fact that a relatively petite white woman could teach these violent gang bangers in to being students and good people!

Written by: Ronald Bass (Black Widow) and Directed by: John N. Smith (The New Boys) starring Michelle Pfeiffer (Scarface), George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter) and Courtney B. Vance (D-Tox).

Dangerous Minds, which is based on the book by LouAnne Johnson (Becoming Eduardo), tells the story of ex-Marine Louanne Johnson who gets temporarily hired as a Teacher at a School in a poor neighborhood.  Her friend and fellow teacher got her the job.  When she is not well received by her class, she results to unusual methods to get her students to learn.

Now ultimately this movie has probably been one of those ones that time forgot, but in my heart this movie will last the test of time. It has a great cast, a great story, and is a well rounded good time!

For more information on Dangerous Minds, check out a scene from the move:

 

 

 

 

And at number 3 we got: Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi in Reservoir Dogs.

This is a personal favorite of mine, but is nevertheless a slightly different movie with a gang in it.  What do I mean by this?  Well gang movies tend to be movies with teens or young adults in it…

With that said, gang movies come in all sorts and shapes. This one is an example of that.  This movie has all of the elements that a gang movie is supposed to have, both in the negative and positive.  In this, the group that is hired for this jewelry heist start off with a good friendship camaraderie with some of the gang having connected on an almost brothers level.

With that said, this movie which is written and directed by Quentin Tarantino (From Dusk Till Dawn) and with Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant), Tim Roth (Lie To Me) Michael Madsen (Free Willy) and Chris Penn (Pale Rider) tells the story of a heist gone wrong.

A group of guys are brought together by mob boss Joe Cabot (Played by: Lawrence Tierney). They have been brought together for a major jewelry heist… This heist of course ends up going wrong and now everyone is scrambling to get their cut and get out of their before the cops show up to take them away…

What makes this movie so great and in my number 3 spot? Well simply put, it really is a great heist film, with a great story that develops the characters rather brilliantly!

For more information on this film, check out the trailer for Reservoir Dogs:

And coming in at a grand whopping number 2 is: Judgment Night (1993)

Emilio Estevez, Stephen Dorff and Judgement Night.

This one is again another personal favorite of mine! As a matter of fact, this movie introduced me to a lot of great acting talent that I hadn’t known of before hand, such as Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr. Etc…

With that said, besides the fact that it is a genuinely great film with gangs in it, I also found this movie to be an interesting one as it pretty much show cases the duality of gangs in that in this film the bad gang leader was played by Dennis Leary and the good gang leader was played by Emilio Estevez (Even though they technically are not a gang, they still can almost be seen as one.)

Written by: Lewis Colick (Unlawful Entry) and Directed by: Stephen Hawkins (Predator 2) and starring Emilio Estevez (The Breakfast Club), Stephen Dorff (Feardotcom), Jeremy Piven (Entourage) and Denis Leary (Loaded Weapon 1) .

Judgment Night tells the story of a couple guys who just wanted to go to see the fights, but who’s plans take a huge detour when after they try to take a short cut end up in an almost waste land.  They find a guy that had been shot. Freaking out, they pull the guy in.

The only problem is that not only have these 4 friends caught up with the guy that is slowly bleeding to death, but the gang that is trying to kill him, catch up with the group of friends and the bleeding gang banger.

Now these middle class friends have to race against time to escape this gang, before the gang takes them out!

For more information on this movie, check out this trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W0JgJPF10E

And at number 1, the prize goes to: The Warriors (1979)

 

ABM's own Matthew Dowling and Warrior's director Walter Hill.

What can I say about this movie… I mean it goes beyond just your average movie with gangs in it! It is a gang movie!

With that said, this movie in general happens to be in my top 10 favorite movies that I have ever seen.  Not just because it is a truly spectacular movie, but myself along with the rest of the ABM team recently were able to meet, the director ‘Walter Hill’, the Executive Producer ‘Frank Marshall’ and Ajax himself, Mr. James Remar! (As a side note, you might recognize James as Dexter’s dad in the TV show Dexter) during a double feature at the New Beverly Cinema for a series of double features hosted by Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead).

For more information on that series check out Matt’s Blog Here.

Written by: David Shaber (Nighthawks) and Written and Directed by: Walter Hill (The Driver) and starring Michael Beck (Mega Force), James Remar (Dexter), Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Streets Of Fire) and David Patrick Kelly (The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane).

For more information on this movie I highly recommend checking out ABM’s Matthew Dowling’s recommendation for The Warriors

There are of course many other movies with gangs in them that does deserve merit, like Grease (1978) or Chinatown (1972) but for my money the ones I have mentioned here are my favorite movies that have gangs in them!

 


Nathan Strack

About

I am a huge Horror/B-Movie/Grindhouse movie fan! Rather it be Writing/Acting/Directing or just watching one I love it all!

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Comments

  1. Bill Reboin

    March 29th, 2011at 5:59 PM(#)

    Good show Strack

    GP Bill

  2. Nathan Strack Nathan Strack

    March 31st, 2011at 12:09 AM(#)

    Hey Grandpa, glad you like the site. :)

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